Arizona State should give Obama honorary degree
Instead of naming a scholarship to thank President Obama, who has barely started his first term of presidency, give him the honorary degree.
Arizona State University (ASU) has named one of the largest scholarships after the 44th President of the U.S., Barack Obama. Now, Obama as far as I know has no relation to Arizona. If the school were in Hawaii or Illinois, I can see the honor of the scholarship.
The scholarship is to recognize the president after the university decided not to award Obama a honorary degree, after he delivered the commencement speech in May. However, that issue now is being discussed within the college.
It is not that I am against Obama and his progressive policies, but I see the problem behind naming a scholarship after a president who is currently in office before we can see any measurable progress in his administration.
The scholarship is indeed a response to recognize the president. What does the scholarship mean if the eponymous figure has no roots, or background from ASU? It seems meaningless to me.
According to the ASU Web site it is, “In recognition of President Obama’s commitment to educational access and to an entire career dedicated to public service.” However, what was wrong with the previous name, as it advocated the same purpose?
ASU President Michael Crow states that the decision not give a degree is still in effect, as ASU does not grant sitting politicians honorary degrees, “based on the very practical realities of operating a public university in our political environment.” (ASUnews)
Crow defends his position, explaining that ASU has not given any degrees to their sitting senators or governors unlike other colleges (ASUwebdevil.com).
Some other schools have identified no significant issues with giving honorary degrees to sitting politicians. Obama is to receive one from Duke on May 17, where he will also deliver a commencement speech.
The only reason behind ASU’s policy I can see is an effort to maintain objectivity. It seems to make politics too involved. The honorary degree in my view is a thank you for a service to the college, and to the nation.
In this case the honorary degree would be thanks for a speech, and is to be viewed in no fashion as endorsement for the president.
The scholarship implies something done to change the college, not just a speech.
Both an honorary degree and a scholarship remember and recognize President Obama. The honorary degree is the more practical choice as Obama does not have any life experience in Arizona compared to Hawaii or Illinois.
So, ASU, give Obama the honorary degree.
Filed under: Opinion